For years, there has been a retro, tattoo, pin up, street, vintage kind of thing going on...the Bettie Page influenced look. Rockabilly. You know it and you have seen it, and it is global. But yet to emerge from this umbrella of cultural nostalga has been an artist of color who portrays women of color.
Full Article and Links with Images and Video HERE
Young Zahira Kelly of Miami is emerging from this culture with a mission of her own...allowing full participation is the trend! My profile of the artist, her work and her mission follows from the Vintage Sleaze Blog.
Zahira Kelly. Contemporary Vintage Sleaze #7 was a pleasure to put together. Appropriately, the artist has created a vintage pinup magazine cover of her own...could you pass this by if you saw it at the checkout counter?
Zahira Kelly is a FAR too modest subject. Each step of the research here revealed yet more talent. You shall see!
Zahira is an artist on a mission. Searching for vintage pin ups depicting women of color and finding zilch (like my own hunt which has resulted in the Black Pinup Afro-Antics series) she decided to make her own. She sets upon this challenge with a large bag of tools. Permit me to have Zahira do some talking here.
"It all came about naturally and kind of unexpectedly, if that makes any sense...My mother and aunt are fashion designers/jacks of all trades so I was drawing women and designing stuff before I could speak correctly....except I never drew them correctly for fashion--they were always really curvy because I liked them better that way and I was imitating what I saw in the Condorito comics. In the U.S. those kinds of publications are passe but in Latin America that one in particular never left. Anyone who knew me at school as a kid or teen probably only knew me for drawing girls really well. I didn't even know it was a whole separate vein of art until I hit my 20's which is when it all clicked. I wanted to get a pin up tattooed on my forearm but couldn't fathom putting a blond, blue eyed girl on my arm when I knew good and well I could draw one who looked more like me. So I did...and I dunno...turns out I get to use a lot of my random talents for this one thing."
For the record, Condorito is the comic strip created by the late Rene Rios, AKA Pepo. He would have been proud of his young student.
And further, "Hailing from The Bronx, NY and with roots in the Dominican Republic, Miami-based pin up artist Zahira Kelly was unable to find pin ups that resembled her. A lover of classic Americana she soon found herself on a mission to create her own pin ups featuring women of color in a variety of mediums (illustrated, painted, photographed and more), carefully crafting every last detail including fashion, hair and makeup styling. Her images are inspired by beauty icons of yesteryear, pop art and street style. Numerous commissions later, in addition to an art gallery exhibition and features in some of the more popular pin up lifestyle blogs, she is gaining ground with a steadily growing fan base. Stay tuned for an upcoming published collection of works, merchandise and more."
Zahira Kelly is multi-talented to say the least. The VERY least. As modest as I am not, here is one more quote from the artist "Ever since I can remember everyone knew me as "the girl who draws women really well." Little did I know what I created day in, day out, had a name: pin up art." Once I realized this I began studying Vargas, Elvgren and the greats."
Now I suppose if one needs labels "Digital Artist, Photographer, Graphic Designer" works, but Zahira Kelly is far more. Painter, Make-up Artist, Cartoonist, Pin-up Girl, Photographer (of considerable, CONSIDERABLE skill and talent) Set designer, Freelancer.
Watch HERE as the artist runs through a pin-up shoot with a model. Well, more accurately, WATCH AS THE ARTIST RECREATES AN ENTIRE ERA OF GLAMOR WHICH NEVER REALLY EXISTED BUT SHOULD HAVE.
Now imagine the joy one of her clients has bringing her photo or pin up home. Talk about an auteur...Zahira Kelly is is one talented Chica.
You can reach Zahira Kelly at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Artist's website is HERE